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[Congressional Record: February 27, 2002 (Extensions)]
[Page E219]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []

                       HON. CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH

                             of new jersey

                    in the house of representatives

                      Wednesday, February 27, 2002

  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the House 
overwhelmingly passed H.R. 1892, The Family Sponsor Immigration Act, a 
bill that will help keep the American Dream alive for immigrants whose 
hopes have been crushed by the sudden or unexpected death of their 
American sponsors.
  We know that hundreds of thousands of immigrants throughout the world 
go through the immigration process each year for the chance to share in 
the promise of America. And what a wonderful promise it is--the 
opportunity to share in the freedom and blessings of a nation born out 
of ideals.
  In many ways, our immigration process is unique. President Reagan 
often remarked, ``You can go to Turkey and live there your whole life, 
but never really become a Turk. You can go to Japan and live there, but 
never really become Japanese. You can go to Germany, but never become 
German. But, you can come from any place in the world and become an 
  This process is often lengthy and many times even tedious. But our 
laws are designed to provide for the fairest and most just system 
possible, a system that will not only allow others access to our 
society, but that will also help foster their success. Integral to the 
success of immigrants are their American sponsors--proven citizens with 
established roots and financial security. American sponsors provide the 
support necessary to help an immigrant begin their journey in America.
  We know, however, that under current law, in the rare case that an 
immigrant's American sponsor passes away, so too dies the promise of 
America for the immigrant. Imagine the case of an immigrant who applies 
to become a permanent resident, who plays by all the rules and waits 
patiently in hope, perhaps to be united with a long separated loved 
one, but who at the last minute is hit by the death of this loved one. 
Not only is the loss of this person a tragedy to be overcome, but the 
hopes and dreams of the immigrant are thwarted as well.
  According to reports from INS, this scenario became part of the 
September 11 tragedy. As the towers crumbled and thousands of lives 
were lost, so too was lost the chance for immigrants in-waiting to 
continue on the road to become Americans. Thankfully, the Patriot Act 
which the President signed last fall included important provisions to 
extend visas and filing deadlines for the alien relatives of those 
killed in the World Trade Center already involved with the immigration 
process. However, more needs to be done to accommodate future 
  HR 1892 will help correct this glitch in our immigration law. It says 
if a qualifying relative of the deceased sponsor exists, they can act 
as a replacement. As an immigrant you don't have to start the whole 
process over again.
  Remember, we want to reward those who have played by the rules--those 
who attempt to go through the process we have designed, seeking justice 
and fair treatment. Let's correct this unfair technicality in our 
immigration law to help keep the American Dream a reality for those who 
lose their sponsors. The hope of freedom should not die because of the 
untimely death of a sponsor. I thank my colleagues for supporting HR 

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